There is nothing better than the pride you have, after restoring that favorite Garden Tractor. But no matter how nice the paint turned out, how clean and shinny those new tires look, or how many compliments you receive, you just can't help feel, that the restoration isn't complete, because you didn't do anything with that ugly looking serial plate. Believe it or not, this is the very first thing most collectors look at when checking out your tractor. They want to see if you are correct with the year that you have listed on your identification registration, or to see how low your serial number is, or to see if the tractor model truely is what you say it is. Well, now is the time to start making that serial plate look just as good as your tractor finish, and put you at ease, in knowing that your restoration is complete.
I thought I'd take the time to explain how I do my serial plates over, and maybe we can
thread off of this to see other ways of restoring them from other members. Here are some before and after pictures of some serial plates that I have done.
I thought I'd use a step-by-step process, so that our members could use the techniques, and be able to follow along, and apply it as needed. I'm not an expert, so don't think that my ways are gold. It is just something that a lot of guys over look, and I wanted to give ideas on how to do them, and to show that it's really a simple procedure to do.
1) I take a piece of #0000 steel wool lightly over the entire plate, being careful not to press too hard, so that you aren't removing the painted base color. Try and rub all the same direction, usually the wide of the plate. If your plate has a lot of paint over spray on it, spray it and let it soak with some WD-40. This will help to soften the paint, and will also help in getting a nice shine out of the aluminum. Be sure to clean the edges of the plate, and to remove any old paint off as best you can.
2) After you have the plate looking good, touch up any base color with Testor's model paint, using the same brush direction. After the paint touch up is cured, lightly go over the plate again, so that you even out the touched up areas.
3) Spray the entire plate with clear enamel spray paint. Depending on how much you had to rub the base color to get it clean, you may have to apply two or three coats of clear, in order to get a nice shine. If a shine is not desired on your serial plate, then go over the plate again lightly, after the clear coat is dry, to dull the appearance.
4) Re-attach your plate to your console or frame with new Stainless Steel twist rivets. I buy these by the box of 1000 from a company called MG hardware. There are numerous sizes available, and run about $27.00 a box. If you need more information as to where to get these, let me know, and I'll get you the contact information.
5) Sit back and enjoy your nice looking serial plate, and know that your restoration is now complete.
Edited by johndeereelfman, January 10, 2013 - 09:55 PM.